Thai regulator NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) has scrapped its three contracts with state-owned TOT and blocked the operator from its projects going forward.
TOT procured the three contracts at auction in 2017 as part of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Net project. The separate agreements involved delivering cellular services in the North Zone 1 (worth THB1.8 billion [US$59 million]) along with low-cost fixed broadband services in the North Eastern Province and the North Zone 2 (respectively worth THB2.4 billion and THB2.1 billion).
According to the Bangkok Post, an audit carried out by the NBTC committee in charge of supervising the USO Net initiative found that TOT failed to uphold its side of the deal by using the incorrect fibre optic specification in the broadband network plan. Additionally, TOT completed the construction of just three of the 371 buildings promised as part of the project.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said: “TOT failed to complete the tasks required under the terms of reference, even after one year from the due date. The financial penalty has reached THB800 million.”
As a result, Takorn said that maintaining TOT’s contracts was no longer in the public interest, and so the NBTC was obliged to terminate them and put them up for auction again “soon”.